When I was a teenager in Brooklyn, Laura was my snooty next door neighbor. She didn't like me very much but her younger brother Pete and I were best friends so I was aways at his house or he was at mine. Peter and I were sixteen years old, Laura was about twenty, a student at community college and lived at home. Laura's mother Anna loved me and always invited me to stay for dinner. Laura would say "Why is he always here? Doesn't he have a home to go to?"
One summer night Pete and I went to a party and he got very drunk. We were only a few blocks from home so we walked back together. He threw up twice and I had to help him up the front steps to his house. Luckily, his parents were out but Laura was home and she was furious. I helped her get him up into bed and then we quietly went down to the kitchen to talk.
"He'll be ok," I said, "he just needs some rest."
"He needs a good spanking," she said, "and so do you."
My face was burning. Laura smiled while I blushed. "Don't worry," she said, "I'm glad you brought him home. I won't tell your mother."
I can't admit how many times I've played that scene over in my mind and in my dreams. "He needs a good spanking and so do you." What would that be like? Did she think my mother would spank me or would she do it herself? I could easily imagine this very pretty girl ordering me to drop my jeans and get over her knee. What would I do?
My family moved from New York to San Diego when I was seventeen and after about a year I lost touch with Peter and his family. Ten years later, I moved back to New York.
It was a charity event, black tie, at the Metropolitan Museum; my brokerage house was one of the sponsors. Laura, it turned out, worked for the museum in human resources and she was assigned to check tickets that night. I didn't recognize her until she said my name.
"James Hunter? Jimmy?"
She looked different, still very pretty but now she was blonde. She was never blonde.
She stood up and gave me a kiss on the cheek. She had always been taller than me, about 5'10'' but now I was 6'1" and she had to look up for the first time.
"Is it really you?"
She looked again at the invitation and noticed the VIP gold border. We chatted a little; I asked about her brother and her mom. They both lived in Florida now, she said. Peter was a Police officer in Sarasota. She worked for the MET, obviously. I introduced my date, Svetlana, twenty two, all legs. We kissed again on the cheek. "Give Peter my best," I said, " say hi to your mom." All the old feelings I had came flooding back to me.
Two days later I got a call at work.
"Jimmy? Laura...hi....yes, it was so nice to see you. You look great. I just talked to Peter. He was so happy to hear you're well and back....yes....I'm sure he'll call you now that we're back in touch. I know he misses you....me too. Svetlana is beautiful. Yes....No, I'm still single. Dinner? Svetlana won't mind? OK...good. Sounds great....Friday night...I'll look forward to it. And Jimmy, I'm glad you're back."
Maybe those were not her exact words but that's pretty close and from the girl who couldn't stand me ten years earlier. To be fair, I was an annoying kid and she was older and very pretty and she knew I had a crush on her so her cruel, dismissive attitude was not unexpected.
We met at the Four Seasons; the Pool Room. Julian was great. I had talked to him earlier and I asked for a dark corner. "There are no dark corners at the Four Seasons," he said with that superior tone he has. "But I'll put you in the best place."
Laura was impressed. "You know the owner? How do you know the owner? You haven't been here in ten years."
We had a few drinks and at the first moment of awkward silence I whispered "You're beautiful."
"Jimmy!" she squealed, "I'm like your big sister!"
She reached across the table to caress my face just as Julian arrived with appetizers that we didn't order. "Stuffed Zucchini Flowers," he said, "I made them myself." I could have killed him.
We decided to go back to my place for dessert. I had a car and driver waiting.
"So Jimmy," she said, as she slid against me in the back seat, "tell me, did you think I was beautiful when you were a teenager or did you think I was a bitch?"
"I thought you were a goddess. I dreamt about you for years. You were the ideal woman by which all other women would be judged."
I live in the Time Warner building, facing Columbus and the park. She was impressed. The table was set. Champagne on ice.
"Show me your bedroom," she said without a hint of shyness. "You can tell a lot about a man from his bedroom."
I dimmed the lights slightly as she inspected the room and the view. "Nice bed," she concluded, "very neat."
"Try it," I offered, "It's very bouncy." She continued around the room, ignoring me.
"Klee?" she asked as she examined the painting on the wall; pronouncing it correctly. "Is it real?"
"Are you real, or am I dreaming?"
"I'm real," she said as we kissed.
It was great. I undressed her; we gave the bouncy bed a workout and I knew for the first time what it felt like to be in love.
She brought it up first, "Do you remember that night that you and Peter got drunk?"
"You wanted to give me a spanking."
"That's right. You needed it. I should have given it to you."
"It's not too late," I said, shaking like a leaf.
"Come to me baby," she whispered, "sorry I made you wait."
I've never been good at relationships. My therapist says it was because of an unresolved sexual conflict. Laura's threat to spank me so many years ago caused mixed feelings of shame and sexual excitement and guilt. When we made love, the spanking was playful, the sex was great, we laughed and kissed and the conflict was resolved. Proving once again that Freud was right.
By the way, Laura is now my beautiful wife and we have a special word to indicate when a spanking is needed. She'll mention Svetlana and I put her right over my knee. Unless we're at the Four Seasons.
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